Village schools deserve every consideration

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Suffolk School Board started discussing school facilities again yesterday in Whaleyville and Holland. This discussion prompted controversy some while back over a proposal to close both Robertson Elementary in Whaleyville and Southwestern in Holland in favor of some large, modern facility to be located, we assume, in some farm field somewhere midway between the current schools.

The board needs to do all it can to come up with an alternative that maintains the schools' presence in their respective villages.

A small community's school is often its heart and soul. It's where parents and grandparents go to see children in plays and sporting activities, serving as a social as well as an educational center.

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It was consolidation and the subsequent removal of neighborhood schools in favor of sprawling suburban schools that contributed to the deterioration of inner-city neighborhoods. Such a move could devastate Whaleyville and Holland as well.

With money already invested in the villages and their respective initiative plans calling for more investment, a sense of pride and community spirit is returning to these communities. Removing the schools would be a slap in the face to any progress that has been realized.

We realize the advantages that a modern facility would offer students of Southwestern and Robertson, but there are more things to be considered in this situation.

Too often, such decisions boil down to dollars and cents. Would it be cheaper to operate one school than two? Probably. And we know the school board is under frequent pressure from council to keep costs as low as possible.

It may well turnout that shuttering the aging schools is the only viable alternative, but we hope council and the board will work to keep them open.